I need to make a decision about my notebook in the next day or two and was hoping you might have some advice.
I currently use a Latitude C640 that I've had since I started college four years ago. It's never been a particularly fast machine, though whether this is an intrinsic property or a function of all the software my university required that I install remains a mystery to me. About a year ago, I started getting the blue screen of death. Starting in January, the computer would freeze regularly and on a typical day I had to force-restart it once or twice. In retrospect, this was really something I should have tried to fix, but the onset had been so gradual that I'd grown resigned to it.
Following graduation, I stripped the computer of all my university software and archived most of my extraneous files to CDs. Oh, and I managed to get antivirus working again (long story), which cleared up some problems (surprise!). I haven't seen the blue screen recently, but the computer is still slow to start up and bad at multitasking. Sometimes it surprises me, and everything works great for a while. But try to run Word and Firefox simultaneously, and after a while it's almost guaranteed I'll have to Ctrl-Alt-Del and End Task for one or both nonresponsive programs.
I only have 256 MB RAM (yeeeaaah...), and am currently using about 10 GB of the 20 GB hard drive. It's on Windows XP Professional.
At the moment I live in a country with virtually nonexistant part sales or tech support, but a friend has agreed to bring me parts or a new computer when he visits in ten days.
So, the question:
-buy 1 GB RAM (and hope that'll solve the problem), a new battery (old one's shot), and a wireless card (since I need one anyway)?
(totalling around US $300, by the looks of it)
-buy a new computer?
I plan to get a new notebook (probably a MacBook, truth be told) within the next year, but don't know if I should do it now or patch up the Dell and wait till I'm somewhere with tech support in six months (I'd hate to get a new computer and then wind up with unresolvable hardware problems while the warranty runs out). Should the RAM upgrade be enough to give me a functioning computer? All I really need it for is word processing, internet, watching movies/listening to music, and for some music applications like Audacity and Sibelius. No gaming.... But this constant freezing and crashing has got to end.
Okay, that's pretty much it. I apologize for the glut of information, but I wanted to be thorough. I need to make the decision within the next few days. If any of you have any insight or suggestions, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!